Guys, it’s that time of the month.  Again.  Ugh.

Here’s what we have to look forward to.  One whole week of….

Irrational irritability.  Allodynia.  (Increased sensitivity to pain.)

Glycogen retention.

A compulsion to eat carbs, carbs, and, uh.  More carbs. All day.  Every day. Ever. And anon.

Fun. So much fun. Not.


Wait, what?

It’s not that that time of the month!  (I haven’t quite reached that level of oversharing. Yet.)

Oh, no no no.  It’s much worse than that.


It’s taper week.

And if there’s one thing you learn as a runner, it’s that taper week makes PMS week look like a a day at Disney World.  With no lines.  And free food.  And Patrick Dempsey as your own personal theme park tour guide.

Because if there’s one thing that any runner hates…it’s being told not to run, especially when you know that you have to race in seven days and really you just want to make sure that your muscles will remember to work for 13.1 miles.

…they can be so forgetful.


But instead of doing something irrational like running 10 miles the Wednesday before your Saturday race, you just have to remind yourself that your 11 mile run on Saturday was a dream.  You ran at an 8:50 pace and it felt easy.

You highly suspect that this might have something to do with the fact that you haven’t singlehandedly tried to finish off a jar of peanut butter in over two weeks.  It’s crazy the things that happen when you treat your body well.  You might actually feel, well.  Good.  Confident.

Ready to take on the world…or at least 13.1 miles of Brooklyn.

So instead of turning into a psycho compulsive runner who decides that she is above tapering.  You eat your pasta.  And you rest your muscles (a little).  And you like it.

And really…there’s nothing not to like about this pasta.  Imagine baked ziti but infused with goat cheese instead of mozzarella.  And stuffed with more kale/swiss chard/spinach by weight than actual noodles.  Yeah…it’s pretty much a dream. In an 8×8-inch pan.  What more could you ask for.


Baked Macaroni with Tomato Sauce and Goat Cheese
Serves 4, adapted from the New York Times


  • 1/2 lb whole wheat fusilli or other small pasta
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, whole
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz soft goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 11 oz mixed greens (I used this blend)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce.  Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat in a large, wide skillet.  Add the garlic.  Cook 30 seconds, stirring, or until fragrant.  Add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and basil to the pan.  Stir, turn up the heat, and bring to a boil.  When it begins to bubble, lower the heat back to medium and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until thick and fragrant. Add freshly ground black pepper.  Stir in the goat cheese and parmesan cheese.  Taste and adjust seasonings.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350.
  3. When the water for the pasta starts to boil, add the pasta and cook it for a minute or two less than the package instructions say since it will cook more in the oven.  In the last two minutes, add the mixed greens.  Drain and transfer to a large bowl.  Add the tomato-goat cheese sauce to the bowl and combine thoroughly.  Transfer to an 8×8-inch baking pan or a 2 qt baking dish.
  4. Toss the breadcrumbs with the remaining tbsp olive oil.  Sprinkle over the top of the pasta.  Bake until casserole is bubbly and breadcrumbs are lightly brown, about 30 minutes.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

I am submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights which is being hosted this week by Alisha of Cook.Craft.Enjoy


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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91 Responses to Baked Macaroni with Tomato Sauce and Goat Cheese {}

  1. I want this for dinner every single day, that is all!

  2. london bakes says:

    Oh this looks amazing! I love all those flavours and all that baked pasta goodness.

  3. Patsyk says:

    I’m sooooo going to have to make this… even if my boys won’t eat it, that’s ok cuz I think such a healthy recipe would be great for lunch leftovers, too! 🙂

  4. Oh boy, I feel ya. I start tapering next week before my marathon and am anticipating some serious grouchiness. I will be looking to eat EVERYTHING! The feeling is weird. Good luck on your race and make sure to report on your time!! I’m rooting for you!

  5. OohLookBel says:

    Wow, love all the lovely veg in this macaroni bake! Hope you’re well-rested now to take on the next run/s.

  6. Mary says:

    This is a beautiful pasta dish! Good luck with taper week. You are going to be amazing on Saturday!

  7. Looks fantastic! Good luck on your run!

  8. Amy says:

    I just started doing the Tabata/HIIT exercise method on the treadmill. Working at 100% for 20 seconds and then 10 seconds of recovery, rinse repeat. Holy shit, I am so tired. That week-long break sounds heavenly.

  9. Good luck with your race, Joanne! 🙂 Not sure if what the evidence is for carb loading in women, but I see no problem doing an unblinded experiment on myself. 😉

  10. Gloria says:

    I lovr macaronis like these hope you have a good taper week. you can. lol

  11. Sarah says:

    oh tapering… love it and hate it all at once. 🙂 this pasta looks like a great way to deal with it!

  12. Good luck with the upcoming race! This dish looks perfect for the rainy weather we have today,

  13. This is absolutely fabulous. I adore goat cheese!

  14. Jenna says:

    Tasty! And I’ve never heard of this whole ‘tapering’ thing. You runners live in a mysterious and confusing world.

  15. What a great macaroni dish, Joanne! This looks so scrumptious and I love the ingredients you used!

  16. 1. This looks super good. And Im not even a big pasta fan.
    2. Im still reading your blog on the daily and lovin’ it. Just too lazy to comment.
    3. I take the MCAT next Thursday. Omg.
    4. I really appreciate that email you sent me that I STILL need to respond to. But THANK YOU for it, it made me feel better about med school.
    5. Im stoked you have a bf!!!

  17. Margarita says:

    Yes, keep being good to yourself and do not be tempted to go on a long ass run. This pasta looks awesome. Love the goat cheese in it!

  18. Pierce says:

    Mmmm…goat cheese! Love that smeared on baguette, in casseroles, as the cheese course. Great recipe and it’s something I can make this week – yea!

  19. Mmm I love how you made this pasta bake healthy with the extra nutrients and whatnot. Well done! I LOVE GOAT CHEESE 🙂

  20. Ranjani says:

    mmmm, goat cheese is the best! With food like this to get you by, taper week will be done before you know it!

  21. Jeanette says:

    I am drooling over your plate of pasta Joanne – love everything about it! Going to have to look for the green mix you used, haven’t noticed it in the store before.

  22. Rachel says:

    I’m bookmarking this for the next time my husband wants lasagne. I hate assembling all the layers and this looks much easier (and tastier) to me!

  23. Goat cheese is one of the pleasures of life.. Amazing!

  24. Lynn says:

    I might make this just for me. Yum.

  25. Shana says:

    Mmmmm – I do a similar with mozzarella instead of goat cheese. And my whole family loves it every time. It doesn’t look as beautiful as yours, of course. 🙂 Good luck with your upcoming run. 13.1 miles is nothing to sneeze at! 🙂

  26. That Girl says:

    I dunno… I love taper week! I get a little burned out by the end of training.

  27. Lora says:

    Resting and eating pasta is my kind of sport. This looks awesome.

  28. Hola mi linda, missed you blog…catching up from my move and I click over and find this, HELLO!! Yummy!

  29. Camila Faria says:

    I love time of the month. NOT! But I loved this recipe and have to try it someday. Oh, YES!

  30. Jenn Kendall says:

    beautiful pasta dish Joanne! love the goat cheese addition!

  31. I’m sure macaron like this can get you through taper week my friend! Just keep eating this gorgeous dish 😀
    Best of luck!

    Choc Chip Uru

  32. Maybe I’m weird because I love tapering! Less running = more time to cook delicious things like this pasta.

  33. Shannon says:

    yup, definitely my dream 🙂 but i think i’ll be making this a reality!! good luck with the race 🙂

  34. Wow, not only is that a terrific recipe, your photography is superb. I wish I could take such great pictures 🙁

  35. I love that saying, nothing looks as good as healthy feels…so true.

  36. Candace says:

    This looks delicious! Best of luck to you! You are going to be amazing.

  37. Christine says:

    Yet another delicious recipe to include in my “to make” list! Looks scrumptious and has a lot of green goodness going for it! Best of luck on your run! You’ll do great!

  38. Jay says:

    yummm…this looks especially tasty
    Tasty Appetite

  39. Pam says:

    I would rather eat this tasty baked macaroni over running A.N.Y.D.A.Y! It looks tasty.

  40. Megan says:

    We are so on the same wavelength with pasta and comfort food. I love every component of this dish.

  41. Simply Life says:

    good luck with the run! this dish looks fantastic!

  42. I love when you make pasta healthy, Joanne. 🙂 It is a gift. A really, really delicious gift. 🙂

  43. Carolyn Jung says:

    Baked pasta is such a treat. Sauce and noodles become one — with all of it infused with big-time flavor.

  44. Nina says:

    Yummy yummy…a delicious pasta. I would love to have them right away. Pasta…baked??? that makes it all the more interesting:)

  45. Another big hit!! This looks and sounds so delicious!

  46. Ben says:

    Lately I’ve been getting this desire to run and I’ve been running up to 6 miles, but I don’t think I could run as much as you do. I really admire you! That macaroni rocks!

  47. elly says:

    Mmm. I love all your recipes, but your pasta ones really get to me. The goat cheese never hurts, either. Another big fat star going on this post. I need a clone to actually get around to trying all my starred recipes, though. Sigh.

  48. Awesome pasta dish – any time of the month 😉

  49. Zoe says:

    Good luck with your Saturday run! You are running so much already before the actual event… This baked macaroni will be great and yummy to replenish all your energy and get ready for the next run.

  50. Johanna GGG says:

    rest and pasta sounds like a perfect combination – taper week be damned – it is winter here and that is exactly what I need! (and good luck with taper week – I don’t really understand it, not being a runner, but I hear your pain)

  51. JoJo says:

    I love goat cheese… This looks amazing, fresh basil is so much better than the dry ones!!
    Good luck on your run 🙂

  52. What’s not to love about this gorgeous baked macaroni with goat cheese!
    All the best with your run!


  53. Such fabulous flavors baked into this amazing dish – that time of month couldn’t be all that bad with this around! ‘)

  54. Big Dude says:

    Looks very good Joanne and I like the serious texture you get in your dishes.

  55. Nicole, RD says:

    It must always be my time of the month. Unfair.

    But if I get to enjoy this pasta, I can more than live with that! This will be made!!

  56. Great recipe! Hope you have an awesome run 🙂

  57. Geni says:

    Oh this casserole (dare I call it a casserloe…it sounds so banal) looks DIVINE Joanne. And I am soooo glad you are taking your Taper day seriously. We don’t want any torn ANYTHINGS this time around. Okey dokey? Promise? Thanks! Glad we agree. Thank you for Pinning my Kahlua cake! Have a wonderful day!

  58. Cathleen says:

    Oh my. This looks too good!
    I’m glad you can actually enjoy resting a bit, good luck on your run!

  59. daphne says:

    cheeky! this looks fantastic! Enjoy your run!

  60. It’s the worst not being able to run. I can’t imagine how you must be feeling now, but I definitely commend you for staying so strong. You’re going to be awesome at that Saturday race.

    As for this pasta, I’m totally in love with it. It’s such a nice twist on mac and cheese, and I’ll take goat cheese over mozzarella any day of the week.

  61. love2dine says:

    that would be perfect for dinner..absolutely delicious.

  62. Danielle says:

    you had me at goat cheese – yum!

  63. marie says:

    I love the variety of pastas available today, I usually buy whole wheat or the trio colored veggie pasta. And pasta and goat cheese are a match made in heaven. I really love your recipes, such a great mix of delicious and healthy.

  64. kickpleat says:

    Congrats on all your running (and it’s good to take it easy, right?)! Good luck for your next run and eat up those carbs. Looks so good!!

  65. Hotly Spiced says:

    That’s a great looking pasta bake Joanne. I used to do swim squads with a Master’s Club and the week before any event we always did tapered squads. For me who wasn’t competing I always found them rather dull and boring. Good luck for your 13.1 mile race. I’m sure with all your good cooking and hard work you’ll do a PB – and you won’t even need Patrick Dempsey for that! xx

  66. and you do take on too much at the beginning of each new race. you want to run more and more to ensure those muscles will work. they will.
    good luck, but you will do well.
    would love to see what you eat AFTER the race. lol

  67. Katie says:

    Goat cheese sounds like a great addition to mac and cheese. Good luck making it through taper week. At least you know there’s the reward on the other end!

  68. I’m all over this. Pure delicious comfort food… and I love this twist! Best of luck with your run!

  69. Blond Duck says:

    Good luck! I’ll take you on the PB jar challenge… 🙂

  70. Reeni says:

    Healthy comfort food – I love it! Very unique with the goat cheese and greens – I have been craving goat cheese at all hours of the night and day. Good luck with the race! Even though you don’t need it. You’ll rock it.

  71. Claudia says:

    Sounds totally doable and so tempting. Just need to pick up that goat cheese. I have the opposite exercise problem, which would not be tapering, but untapering.

  72. Claudia says:

    Sounds totally doable and so tempting. Just need to pick up that goat cheese. I have the opposite exercise problem, which would not be tapering, but untapering.

  73. looks great and `i always admire your running

  74. Barbara says:

    That is a super mac and cheese recipe, Joanne. Healthy, but satisfying the need for comfort!

  75. Suzi says:

    This looks just gorgeous and a great healthy recipe. Lovethe mixed greens in thre too. Good luck with your run.

  76. Ruth Daniels says:

    I’m still waiting for those tasty looking mixed greens blends make their way to Nova Scotia. Looks awesome. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights

  77. grace says:

    ha HA–i wondered where you were going with that intro… 🙂
    LOVE the breadcrumbs on top–excellent touch!

  78. Katerina says:

    Good luck with the race Joanne! I am sure this pasta filled you with energy and positive thinking. It looks scrumptious!

  79. Oh this looks really good!

  80. Kristen says:

    I have recently discovered corn pasta. Who’d have thought, huh? It’s every bit as good as wheat, but without that offending gluten. I can have this dish! Can I tell you how exciting it is to thing that I can have goat cheese and pasta again???

  81. I love goats cheese in everything. Its my weakness

  82. Chris says:

    I remember those “rest days”. You start rationalizing “I’ll just do a little work out, it will be good for me.” “I’m feeling good in this light work out, I’ll push it a little more.” “Pfft, rest days, they work for other people.”

    The good news is, when you get older, it becomes easier to take the rest days. hell, you look forward to them.

  83. Mmmm never know what it is I like more about recipes like this – the breadcrumbs or the cheese!

  84. Rachel says:

    Oh my. The combination of veggies in this was like a love affair with goat cheese. YUM. I did use quinoa pasta and my own gluten free breadcrumbs. So good I had to have seconds.

  85. Deborah says:

    I’m not running, but I still want to bathe in this!

  86. Ashley says:

    Totally made this. Forgot the greens. Wilted them separately (good call, Dino!!) and served them with the pasta. I couldn’t dream of messing up that beautiful bread crumb topping to add the greens… this turned out great! And yes… the greens are necessary LOL

  87. […] goat cheese and tomato pasta bake adapted from eats well with others […]

  88. […] Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Tomato Sauce and Goat Cheese – Joanne Eats Well With Others […]

  89. I’m making a grocery list right now so I can make this pronto! Hope all goes well with your race. Sounds like you are more than ready!

  90. I’m definitely not a runner but I know I would certainly enjoy your pasta dish. 🙂 Good luck!

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